Clean Energy Futures

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The Audi e-tron Sportback is a stylish sophomore electric car

December 2018 marked the arrival of the Audi e-tron, the first in a massive onslaught of post-dieselgate electric vehicles from Volkswagen Group. With brands across VW Group still working on new bespoke EV platforms and architectures, the e-tron was a bit of a stopgap, intended to reach the market quickly to show that upper management was now serious about electrification. Now it has company in the form of the new Audi e-tron Sportback.

Audi says that the e-tron Sportback is for its customers who care about the planet but also about aesthetics—basically you buy this car if the thought of an A7‘s carbon footprint is unbearable. To my eyes, the design team should consider its work a success. The e-tron Sportback is a more attractive vehicle than either the e-tron SUV or the closely related (but internal combustion engine-powered) Q8. In fact, if you ignore everything below the top of the wheel arches, it’s a stunner, particularly the flare of the bodywork around the rear wheel and then that little ducktail spoiler.

Overall, the roofline of the e-tron Sportback is about half an inch (12.7mm) lower than the e-tron, and in US-spec with reflective side-view mirrors it has a drag coefficient of 0.28 (a reduction of 0.02).

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